National Gallery of Ireland: Through a Lens Tour: LGBTQIA+
This selection of artworks explores parts of the national collection through a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) lens to bring untold stories to light. This collection of works hopes to create a more welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ visitors in the Gallery by highlighting their community’s history.
However, when trying to find LGBTQIA+ stories within a historical collection there are several issues that keep coming up. There are huge gaps in LGBTQIA+ historical resources, as in the past anonymity was a form of protection. The resources that do exist often come with their own prejudices against the LGBTQIA+ community, and they are more commonly focused on cisgender homosexual men, as they were the most openly policed during different periods in history.
Sometimes the research brings up more questions than answers. In these cases, we can at least question the heteronormative dialogue of history. Merely questioning the assumption that a person was straight and cisgender can be enough when faced with a lack of empirical evidence.
The final challenge to LGBTQIA+ history is the use of modern terminology in a historical context. Many words that we use today have only come into existence, with their current definitions, in the last few decades. The words used here to describe people’s sexual or gender identities are applied cautiously and with a full awareness that they themselves may not have used them. If you are unsure of certain definitions, please visit our glossary page.
With all of this in mind, this selection of artworks is designed to offer a different perspective of the national collection, to inspire you to look more closely at art, and to question the seemingly heteronormative histories that go with it.
If you are doing this tour onsite at the Gallery, taking in all the works will take approximately 60 minutes. The works are in the order they appear in the Gallery when following our one-way system. Feel free to skip a few or spend longer at others. When in the Gallery, please be aware that you will be moving across various levels, which may require access to lifts. You can ask any member of staff to direct you to the closest lift. They will also be able to direct you to any other facilities you may require including a Changing Places facility located at the Merrion Square entrance.
This is part of the Gallery’s wider LGBTQIA+ programming, including tours (public and private), talks and the OUTing the Past: LGBT History Festival. If you have any further questions or would like to know more about the Gallery’s LGBTQIA+ programming please contact Kate Drinane at email@example.com | (01)6633510.